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Thursday June 13, 2024

Pentagon says Russia launched space weapon in path of US satellite

By AFP
May 23, 2024
A Soyuz rocket carrying the Russian Meteor-M spacecraft and 18 Russian and foreign satellites blasts off from a launchpad at the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russias Far East.— Reuters/file
A Soyuz rocket carrying the Russian Meteor-M spacecraft and 18 Russian and foreign satellites blasts off from a launchpad at the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia's Far East.— Reuters/file

WASHINGTON: Russia has launched a likely space weapon and deployed it in the same orbit as a US government satellite, the Pentagon said.

“Russia launched a satellite into low Earth orbit that we assess is likely a counter-space weapon presumably capable of attacking other satellites in low Earth orbit,” Pentagon spokesman Air Force Major General Pat Ryder told a press briefing late on Tuesday. The Russian “counter-space weapon” launched on May 16 was deployed “into the same orbit as a US government satellite,” he said.

Ryder added that Washington would continue to monitor the situation and was ready to protect its interests. “We have a responsibility to be ready to protect and defend the domain, the space domain, and ensure continuous and uninterrupted support to the Joint and Combined Force,” he said. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment when asked about reports that Moscow had launched a space weapon.

“I can´t comment on this in any way. We act absolutely in accordance with international law, do not violate anything, and have repeatedly advocated banning any weapons in space,” he told a regular press briefing in Moscow.

“Unfortunately, these initiatives of ours were rejected, including by the USA.” Earlier Tuesday, Moscow accused the United States of seeking to weaponize space after Washington vetoed a Russian non-proliferation motion at the United Nations. “They have once again demonstrated that their true priorities in the area of outer space are aimed not at keeping space free from weapons of any kind, but at placing weapons in space and turning it into an arena for military confrontation,” Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement.